Document Type

Research Report

Publication Date



Using 4 years of student-level demographic, enrollment and testing and school-level characteristics, this study analyzes the enrollment and outcomes of English Language Learners (ELLs) in Boston Public School between SY2006 and SY2009 and assess the relative impact of individual and school level factors in testing outcomes of ELLs. The study reports on the improvement in ELL dropout rates and testing outcomes during the period of observation. It reports also on the outcomes of ELLs at different levels of English proficiency and finds (1) higher dropout rates and lower testing performance among low English proficiency students; (2) a minimal proportion of students reaching academic language proficiency within the period of observation; and (3) particularly deep vulnerability among ELLs of low English proficiency entering district school in middle school and high school. In the assessment of individual and school-level factors in the testing outcomes of ELL students, the study finds English proficiency and designation as a student with disabilities are the strongest predictors of testing outcomes. Finally, the report focuses on the policy implications of these findings in view of the state’s language restrictive policies affecting the education of ELLs in Massachusetts. District level administrative and programmatic recommendations as well a state policy recommendations are provided.


This report, Improving Educational Outcomes of English Language Learners in Schools and Programs in Boston Public Schools, and its companion report, Learning from Consistently High Performing and Improving Schools for English Language Learners in Boston Public Schools, are part of a larger project, Identifying Success in Schools and Programs for English Language Learners in Boston Public Schools, commissioned by the Boston Public Schools as part of this process of change set in motion by the intervention of the state and the federal governments on behalf of Boston’s English language learners. The project was conducted at the request of the Office for English Language Learners and is a collaboration among this Office, the Mauricio Gastón Institute for Latino Community Development and Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts Boston, and the Center for Collaborative Education in Boston. It was conducted under the leadership of principal investigators Miren Uriarte and Rosann Tung and by the following members of the research team: Michael Berardino, Jie Chen, Virginia Diez, Laurie Gagnon, Faye Karp, Sarah Rustan, and Pamela Stazesky. This report and its companion report may be downloaded at and

Uriarte et al 2011 Executive Summary.pdf (1201 kB)
Improving Educational Outcomes -- EXECUTIVE SUMMARY



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